Tots to Thai: Feve Owners to Open New Restaurant
TEA CRUNK // SEPTEMBER 27, 2019
When I was still deciding on which school I wanted to go to, one of the first things I did was map the nearest Thai restaurant to each college I was considering. And, though I landed at Oberlin, that choice came at the cost of convenient Thai food, something I value so dearly. After a mere three sad, Thai-less weeks, it seems my prayers have been answered: a Thai restaurant is coming to Oberlin.
In fact, it’s the owners of the beloved Feve, Matt and Jason Adelman, who have decided to branch out and open a Thai restaurant called ThiNi Thai right in downtown Oberlin. Directly behind the Feve, the building that houses The Oberlin Market and is currently surrounded by plywood and construction equipment will soon serve noodles and sticky rice. Planned to be small, casual, conveniently located, and - perhaps most importantly - affordable, the restaurant will primarily be for takeout, along with a small seating area and a full bar.
Feve Owner, Jason Adelman, and Kitchen Manager, Tim Langdon, have visited Thailand together on multiple occasions. In fact, they are currently in Thailand to bring back the restaurant’s chef. On one of those trips, the two happened to meet a local named Aon, who showed them around and taught them the local cuisine. For over a year, the two have been attempting to get Aon a visa to fulfill his dream of starting a restaurant in America - and lucky for us, it happens to be right here in Oberlin, Ohio.
“It’s gonna be super authentic. It’s [Aon’s] recipes and his family’s recipes that he’s been cooking for years,” Feve manager Tony Tenorio explains. He adds that ingredients will even be shipped from Thailand. “Everything is authentic Thai,” Tenorio emphasises, clearly excited about the prospect.
When asked if the restaurant will serve typical Thai food, Tenori responds “I don’t think it’s a lot of things we’ve seen around here.” He expects the food to primarily consist of dishes specific to the region of Thailand in which Aon grew up, localized to his expertise. Tenori anticipates that lunch will be popular and reasons that the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner at least, though the official hours are not yet available. Tenori also reminds those of us awaiting the restaurant’s opening that “All this stuff is speculative of course, because once we start getting it open things can change.”
Many Oberlin students are eager for the arrival of the new restaurant. A group of fourth years agreed that they were all “so excited” to have a Thai restaurant in Oberlin. They reflected that there has been some change in Oberlin’s food scene over their four years here, including India Garden closing. When asked about the prospect of a new Thai restaurant in town, students had reactions ranging from ecstatic to tentative.
First year Kira Mesch recalls that she recently saw a friend post about getting Thai food on social media and thought to herself “‘I wish I could have Thai food right now’ - and now I can!”
When approached in Mudd, passersby made remarks such as “Fuckin’ awesome,” “It would be cool,” and “Sounds delicious.”
Other students are less enthusiastic, but not opposed to the idea, like a fourth year who stated “I mean, I guess I hope it’s good.”
Above the restaurant doors, there will be a lit-up arrow directing the way in, along with a controversial figure spinning above the arrow - a happy chicken. An Oberlin citizen passing by criticized the idea schematic. Despite not being a vegetarian, he found it,
“Kind of offensive that they have this caricature of this bird they’re torturing and killing, y’know smiling . . . so disgusting.”
Another man commented that “The novelty of the sign is gonna wear off real fast” for those living nearby.
To taste the food for yourself and decide if the sign warrants controversy, keep an eye out for ThiNi Thai - coming to the college town near you by the end of October.*
*This is the goal; not a guaranteed date